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Hair & Beauty

How to Start a Hair Salon in the US: A Comprehensive Entrepreneurial Guide

  • Businesses/Owners
all you need to know about how to open a hair salon in the US all you need to know about how to open a hair salon in the US

Are you thinking about how much money it costs to start a hair salon? Starting a hair salon in the US is an exciting venture for anyone looking into the beauty industry. It’s not just about the initial hair salon start-up cost but about creating a space reflecting your creative vision. This guide will offer insights into everything from the cost of opening a hair salon to hair salon grand opening strategies that make your business stand out.

Understanding the Hair Salon Market in the US

The US hair salon market is a dynamic and competitive landscape that requires a keen understanding of consumer behavior, industry trends, and economic patterns. By comprehensively analyzing the market, an entrepreneur can craft a business strategy that resonates with clients and stands out in the marketplace. Statista's recent report forecasts the 2023 market size for U.S. beauty salons, offering insights into the industry's landscape in 2024.

Researching the Current Market Trends

Staying abreast of the current market trends is crucial for the success of your salon. This research should encompass emerging hairstyles, color techniques, product preferences, and service innovations. It will enable you to tailor your offerings to what's trending, ensuring your salon remains a trendsetter.  Stay on top of trends by assisting with hair and beauty trade shows, we've shared a full guide on the top best shows to attend in 2023 and 2024.

Identifying Your Target Audience

Your salon's target audience is the cornerstone of your business strategy. Are you aiming to attract young professionals, families, students, or luxury seekers? Each demographic comes with unique expectations and preferences, and your services, marketing, and salon ambiance should align with the desires of your chosen clientele. Click here to keep reading more about how to know your clients and identify how to increase your sales with one of our best articles. 

What Do You Need to Open a Hair Salon?

To successfully open a hair salon, several key components must be in place

  • Firstly, a well-researched business plan is crucial. This plan should outline your vision for the salon, including the services you'll offer, your target market, and your unique selling points. 
  • Secondly, securing a suitable location is vital. The ideal spot should be easily accessible to your target clientele and have good visibility. 
  • Thirdly, obtaining the necessary licenses and permits is a must to operate legally and professionally. 

This includes a cosmetology establishment license and individual stylist licenses, among others. The next step is designing a welcoming and functional salon space, which involves investing in quality salon equipment and creating an attractive, comfortable environment for clients. Additionally, hiring skilled staff who share your vision and can deliver exceptional service is essential. Lastly, a strong marketing strategy to attract and retain clients is imperative. This includes building a brand identity, utilizing social media effectively, and considering various promotional activities

Each of these elements plays a crucial role in the establishment and success of a hair salon.

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Crafting a Business Plan for Your Hair Salon

A robust business plan is the blueprint for success. It's a comprehensive document that outlines every aspect of your business, from the concept and value proposition to the intricate details of day-to-day operations and long-term financial projections.

A business plan for a hair salon is not just a document; It's a comprehensive roadmap that outlines every aspect of your business, from the concept and value proposition to the intricate details of day-to-day operations and long-term financial projections.

Outlining Your Business Model

The business model you choose will define the operational structure of your salon. Will you operate on a booth rental model, employ stylists, or combine both? 

Your model will affect your revenue streams, operational costs, and the overall culture of your salon.

Planning Your Finances

A detailed financial plan is essential for securing funding and managing your salon's finances effectively. It should include startup costs, operational expenses, pricing strategy, projected cash flow, and break-even analysis. This financial framework will serve as a guide for your salon's economic health and sustainability.

 A great way to keep track of the income of your salon is by utilizing a platform like Booksy to streamline your salon operations  

Estimating Hair Salon Opening Costs

Understanding the costs associated with opening a hair salon is crucial for financial planning and securing adequate funding. Such as leasehold improvements, equipment purchases, initial inventory costs, licensing fees, and marketing for the grand opening.

Budgeting for Long-Term Success

In this subsection, the importance of budgeting for not just the start-up phase but also for the long-term sustainability of the salon is key for your business journey. To make it even smoother keep in mind  strategies for managing ongoing expenses such as rent, utilities, payroll, supplies, and marketing.

Legal Requirements for Starting a Hair Salon

Navigating the legal landscape is a critical step in establishing your salon. It ensures your business operates within the bounds of the law and maintains the professional standards required for success, getting it right from the beginning will avoid any complications in the future, make sure to reach out to your nearest government office and get the requirements. 

Registering Your Business

Choosing the right business structure is foundational for tax purposes, liability, and overall business strategy. Whether you opt for an LLC, corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship, each has its benefits and considerations.

Obtaining Licenses and Permits

To operate legally, you'll need to obtain the necessary licenses and permits. This can include a cosmetology establishment license, individual stylist licenses, a business operation license, and health department approvals. Staying compliant avoids legal pitfalls and establishes your salon's credibility.

Finding the Perfect Location

The location of your salon can make or break your business. So it’s key to understand and analyze where is the best location for a hair salon, ensuring your salon attracts the right clientele 

Analyzing Demographics and Foot Traffic

Analyze the local demographics to ensure that your target market is well-represented in the area. Consider foot traffic, visibility from the street, and the presence of complementary businesses that can potentially serve as referral sources.

Lease Negotiations and Renovations

Lease negotiations can significantly impact your salon's profitability. It's important to understand the terms and get the best deal possible. Additionally, consider the cost and extent of renovations required to reflect your salon's brand and aesthetic appeal.

Designing Your Hair Salon

The design and ambiance of your salon are extensions of your brand. They set the stage for the customer experience and can significantly influence client retention and word-of-mouth marketing.

Creating an Inviting Atmosphere

Your salon's design should embody the essence of your brand and create a welcoming environment. This includes choosing a color scheme, lighting, and decor that align with your brand identity and create a relaxing and inviting space for clients.

budgeting for a hair salon in the US

Hiring and Training Your Team

Your team is your brand ambassador. Their skills, attitude, and professionalism reflect directly on your salon and can be a significant differentiator in a competitive market.

Recruiting Skilled Hairstylists and Staff

Recruit a team that not only has the technical skills but also aligns with the culture and vision of your salon. They should be passionate about their craft and committed to providing exceptional service.

Developing a Training Program

A continuous training program is essential to keep your staff updated on the latest industry trends and techniques. It should also cover customer service, sales, and operational procedures to ensure a consistent and high-quality client experience.

Marketing Your Hair Salon

Marketing is the engine that drives customer acquisition and retention. A strategic marketing plan can build awareness, generate buzz, and establish a loyal customer base. We've curated some of the best 7 strategies for beauty salon owners, click here to keep reading.

Building a Strong Brand Identity

Your brand identity encompasses your salon's name, logo, design, and overall narrative. It's what makes your salon memorable and distinct in the minds of your customers.

Implementing Online and Offline Marketing Strategies

Use a mix of online and offline marketing strategies to reach a wider audience. This can include social media marketing, search engine optimization for your website, local advertising, partnerships, and community events.

Grand Opening: Launching Your Hair Salon

The launch of your salon sets the tone for its future. It's an opportunity to make a strong first impression, showcase what sets you apart, and start building relationships with your community.

Planning a Memorable Launch Event

A launch event is a celebration of your salon's opening and an invitation to the community to see what you offer. It should be an experience that guests will remember and talk about.

Offering Promotions and Incentives 

Opening promotions and incentives can be a great way to attract initial customers. Consider offering a discount on first-time services, bundle deals, or loyalty programs to encourage repeat business. 

Managing your schedule

In today’s digital age, clients appreciate the convenience of online appointments. Booksy provides a seamless online booking experience, allowing clients to schedule their hair salon visits at their convenience. This not only enhances customer satisfaction but also reduces the administrative burden on your staff, freeing them up to focus on providing top-notch services.


Can You Own a Hair Salon Without Being a Hairdresser

An intriguing aspect of the hair salon industry is the feasibility of owning and running a salon without being a hairdresser. While having a background in cosmetology can be beneficial, it is not a prerequisite for salon ownership. Successful salon owners come from a variety of backgrounds and often bring diverse skills to the business, such as management, marketing, or finance. The key is to hire skilled hairdressers and staff who can deliver the quality services your clientele expect. Additionally, understanding the business aspects of running a salon, like budgeting, marketing, and customer service, is more crucial than having hands-on hairstyling skills. 

This approach allows entrepreneurs who are passionate about the beauty industry but lack cosmetology experience to still play a pivotal role in shaping the style and success of a hair salon.


Starting a hair salon in the US is a journey filled with creativity, challenges, and opportunities. By carefully crafting each step, from understanding the very first steps into the cost of opening a hair salon to executing it, you can build a salon that thrives and stands out as a leader in the beauty industry. Your entrepreneurial spirit, backed by a strong business plan and a commitment to excellence, will pave the way for success and growth in the vibrant world of hair styling.

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